Homosexuals Infiltrate the Wild

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According to the BBC, an exhibit at the Oslo Natural History Museum

says homosexuality has been observed among 1,500 species, and that in 500 of those it is well documented.

The exhibition—entitled Against Nature?—includes photographs of one male giraffe mounting another, of apes stimulating others of the same sex, and two aroused male right whales rubbing against each other.

"Homosexuality is a common and widespread phenomenon in the animal world," says an exhibition statement.

"Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even long-lasting partnerships; partnerships that may last a lifetime."

The BBC also reports that one unnamed American commentator described the exhibit as "propaganda invading the scientific world." The commentator in question turns out to be one Nathan Tabor, described in his author's bio as "a conservative political activist based in Kernersville, North Carolina." His arguments are…well, read them for yourselves:

* "If homosexuality were truly strong in the animal kingdom, there would be no animals left, since they would be unable and unwilling to reproduce."

* The museum "claims that bonobos, a type of chimpanzee, are all bisexuals. This is significant, because those who believe in evolution rather than in intelligent design can then make the case that we humans must all have bisexual tendencies too, since, in their view, we're all descended from apes."

* "For years, homosexual activists have tried to make the case that there's a special homosexual gene hiding in the gene pool. Yet, that simply doesn't explain why one human twin might pursue a homosexual lifestyle and another would not."

* "With liberals such as these running scientific exhibits and some schools, we can fully expect a version of the beloved storybook 'The Three Little Pigs' to give rise to 'The Three Gay Pigs.'"

Readers are invited to write their own versions of The Three Gay Pigs in the comments section. Keep it clean—this is a family blog, dammit—and try to do something more clever than making a pun on the word "blow." You get extra credit if your story includes even more misunderstandings of evolution and genetics than can be found in Tabor's column.

NEXT: Lay Off the Bongs—and the Bong Users

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  1. Someone help me here: I am in favor of gay rights, but I was debating this and couldn’t come up w/ a good answer, and that troubled me:

    This person said that there is no gay gene, and that homosexuality is against nature, because homosexuals don’t procreate, so evolution should’ve eliminated it. Now, I don’t care even if people choose to be gay (which I don’t think they do), but I couldn’t think of a good response to that.

  2. Wow, uh, Nathan Tabor is….. what’s the word I’m looking for here? Illogical? No, too soft…. Um….. Silly? No… also too soft.

    Ah, I have it: drunk.

  3. Adam-It could be a recessive gene, or it could be that the genetic basis is part of a complex of chromosomes that becomes active only under certain circumstances.

  4. “If homosexuality were truly strong in the animal kingdom, there would be no animals left, since they would be unable and unwilling to reproduce”

    What about ants? They seem to do fine even though the male worker ants are sterile.

  5. Well, the argument there is pretty simple Adam: Even with a strong genetic component, not all genetic tendencies are expressed. Some are dominant some not, some are environmentaly sensitive, and some don’t express ever. Variations in the genome can be subtle or drastic. Assuming that there’s a gentic component to homosexuality (still up for debate), then the extinction of that gene would only happen if you assume the following:

    • Only those who are homosexuals can carry the homosexual genetic tendency (makes no sense, as resessive genes and unexpressive genes are all over the place)
    • Those who carry the genetic tendency never pass it on (also unlikely)
    • The genetic tendency has no environmental component (also unlikely)

    That’s just for starters. Many other pieces apply to the puzzle.

  6. The three little pigs all had homes, one nicer than the next. The pigs contributed to society through working and spending their hard-earned cash on tasteful decorations and Mazda Miatas. One day, the Wolf came along and threw them all in jail for boning each other in the ass. And then he took their homes and cars under the civil forfeiture laws. The End.

  7. I’m of two minds about this development.

    “The exhibition – entitled Against Nature? – includes photographs of one male giraffe mounting another, of apes stimulating others of the same sex, and two aroused male right whales rubbing against each other.”

    On the one hand, the statement “we know homosexuality is unnatural because it is not observed in nature” is a longstanding canard of the anti-gay right, so it is good to see it so throughly discredited.

    On the other hand, no one wants to see that shit. Whale dicks are, like, six feet long, and that is, like, totally gross.

    So I’m torn.

  8. WLM, that was very…… topical.

  9. I’m still working on how the educational presentation of scientific information leads to childrens’ books being revised. Since when have Childrens’ books been the bastion of scientific knowledge.
    Besides, we all know the middle pig was gay, as were three of the dwarfs.

  10. This has got to be the Friday Fun Link in disguise.

  11. Lamar, the worker ants are female. The drones are male, and they are relatively rare.

    As far as homosexuality selecting itself out of the gene pool: there are many many homosexual men that have children. A coworker of mine has a gay father. Her parents were married, had her, and eventually got divorced. I also remember something else I read online about a gay man that had three children and was married. Gay men are capable of heterosexual actvity, but they certainly don’t prefer it. And you won’t ever find them performing cunnilingus.

    Anyway, it is possible that some kinda of genetic aspect of homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation.

    Also, like someone said, if homosexuality is a recessive gene, it can get passed around a bunch and then occasionally pop up, and even if an animal that ends up homosexual has no descendants, the gene is still out there. And it is just a fact that there are plenty of homosexual animals in the wild.

  12. While Nathan tabor may have some weak arguments, the Museum seems to be relying entirely on anecdotal evidence.

    Is one photograph of bi-curious giraffes really evidence that the species has a homosexual tendency?

    Or could it be that male giraffes are not all that discerning when the mating instinct hits them?

  13. Besides, we all know the middle pig was gay, as were three of the dwarfs.
    Only one of the dwarves was gay, Swishy. Geez, doesn’t anyone do research around here.

  14. Maybe it was a giraffe prison.

  15. Well, no wonder. When was the last time you saw an animal reading the Bible?

  16. Good point, Abdul. I can recall a party I went to where a lot of people brought over their (male) dogs and put them all in the back yard. It was a frickin conga-line after about five minutes.

    I believe homosexuality amongst Bonobos is pretty strongly established, however.

  17. the queer girrafe thing is interesting. This should cause trauma among creationists…..at the creationist museum they hold up evidence that the giraffe proves Darwin wrong as no one has ever found short necked girraffe fossils. So, every day the giraffe is held up as a biblical role model to school kiddies…..and now we learn there are gay girraffs!
    I think Ill accuse the next crackpot I run across with promoting beastial homosexuality.
    Not to be confused w/ my gal, who tells one & all shes a “homersexual” she has sex w/ me, and I remind her of Homer Simpson more than anyone else on earth……

  18. Well, short-necked giraffe fossils haven’t been found, but giraffes are the only known relative of the Okapi, which have longish necks, but nothing on the order of giraffes:

    http://wonderclub.com/Wildlife/mammals/okapi.html

  19. Only heterosexual men are pigs.

    I guess the story would start with pig 1’s condo being torn down for a new football stadium, then pig 2’s trendy loft would be torn down for a new Pfizer building, then the 3 pigs would finally end up together in a summer cottage at Provincetown where noone will tear their house down because the town relies on gay pigs for all their revenues.

  20. God lived alone for a while. Then he had a bunch of winged guys staying with him. Then his son moved in. In fact the only woman on the top floor is Mary, and we all know she’s a virgin.

    Yeah, gay.

    My version of “3GP” opens with:
    “Straw? Puh-leeeze, girlfriend. That Tiki shit went out with the 90s. Now get them bicycle shorts off…”

  21. Oh, and if it is one of those fancy pop-up books then they should have..nevermind, corkscrew shapes don’t fold well.

    If they can add music, it should be something by Bronski Beat.

  22. Someone help me here: I am in favor of gay rights, but I was debating this and couldn’t come up w/ a good answer, and that troubled me:

    This person said that there is no gay gene, and that homosexuality is against nature, because homosexuals don’t procreate, so evolution should’ve eliminated it. Now, I don’t care even if people choose to be gay (which I don’t think they do), but I couldn’t think of a good response to that.

    Go read Sperm Wars.

    In summary, homsexuality helps people gain sexual experience, preparing them for heterosexual baby creating. Most men who are homosexual are actually bi and on average actually end up having more female sexual partners then straight men. Having too much of the “gay gene” where you aren’t attracted to women at all becomes unadvantageous but that is just the case of too much of a good thing (from an evolutionary perspective).

    If homosexuality becomes too common in the gene pool then it ceases to be an advantage. Don’t remember why exactly but it has something to do with Evolutionary Stable Strategies (The Selfish Gene by Dawkins explains this well for those who are not familiar with the term). That’s why gays are a minority.

    Practice makes perfect. Also, women are naturally attracted to men who have had experience with other women because it shows that they are “in demand” so to speak. Having plenty of homosexual experiences can give that impression.

    There’s more to it then that. Go read the book, it was one of the handful that changed my view of the world.

  23. This is a family blog?

  24. This is a family blog?

    Hey, dysfunctional families are still families.

  25. Males humping each other has zip to do with sexuality. Its a dominance thing.

    When the neighbor dog humps your leg? Its not because he wants you to have his puppies. Its because he thinks he’s the boss of you and wants you to know it.

    I suspect that a lot of the so-called “homosexual” behavior in animals is really just dominance displays.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Any of that.

  26. Can someone explain why it matters whether homosexuality is a result of genetics or environment (or some combination)?

  27. God Hates Giraffes!

  28. Anybody who’s ever had a dog hump their leg knows that animals can get wierd.

    We have no idea what is going on in an animal’s mind.

    Mostly, it seems they have no inhibitions about “if it feels good, do it.”

    As far as I know, they don’t indulge in ‘gay bashing’, so they seem ahead of us there.

  29. Easy, T.William — people who ain’t gettin’ any obsess about people who am.
    The few isolated remainders are merely fascists, unworthy of consideration.

    hugs,
    Shirley Knott

  30. Does it even really friggin’ matter if homosexuality could be proved to be genetic? The religious nuts will just say, “Oh, okay, so it’s congenital, like Cystic Fibrosis or Sickle Cell Anemia. We must find a cure!”

  31. Shirley,

    That doesn’t really answer my question. Both sides seem equally obsessed with demonstrating that homosexuality is (or is not, depending) genetic. I don’t understand what would shown either way re: morality.

    Unless your argument is simply that the Oslo Natural History Museum is staffed by people who are obsessed with gay sex . . . ?

  32. Where the hell is Herrick when you need him?

    Pig #1 liked to hang out at the local community theatre where he hoped to land the role of Sugar Kane Kowalczyk in the stage adaptation of Some Like It Hot.

    Pig #2 was a copy editor for third-rate gun magazine. He never smiled and always felt cheated.

    Pig #3 lived with his mother in Boca Raton, Florida. He entertained his friends by dressing in her vintage negligee while lip-syncing to Judy Garland records.

    I have no ending for this.

  33. When the neighbor dog humps your leg? Its not because he wants you to have his puppies. Its because he thinks he’s the boss of you and wants you to know it.

    I suspect that a lot of the so-called “homosexual” behavior in animals is really just dominance displays.

    Similar to what goes on in prisons across America. Do any experts in the field, e.g. psychologists, say that inmate rape is not homosexual behavior? This is a serious question and not an argument.

  34. E. Steven said:
    Does it even really friggin’ matter if homosexuality could be proved to be genetic? The religious nuts will just say, “Oh, okay, so it’s congenital, like Cystic Fibrosis or Sickle Cell Anemia. We must find a cure!”

    Actually, I’ve already seen that argument adavanced in the past 5-10 years.


  35. Similar to what goes on in prisons across America. Do any experts in the field, e.g. psychologists, say that inmate rape is not homosexual behavior? This is a serious question and not an argument.

    Hate to ruin the family blog, but if you are ejaculation into another man its a homosexual behavior.

    If you want to say its just about “dominance” then you can lump a lot of heterosexual sex into that too. People get sexual pleasure from a lot of different things and pretty much all sexual behavior has sadistic and masochistic tendancies in it.

    Sexual pleasure and emtion are intertwined. They’re not part of totally seperate universes.

  36. J sub D

    That’s pretty much what I’ve heard but I can’t cite anything.

    I’ve also heard that if you were to call a prison rapist gay he would loudly deny it while beating the shit out of you.

  37. Adam-It could be a recessive gene, or it could be that the genetic basis is part of a complex of chromosomes that becomes active only under certain circumstances.

    There have been many interesting reports on testosterone’s influence during fetal development. There are many reported correlations of finger length (index compared to ring finger — which is a good indication of testosterone exposure) to the following:

    A short index finger compared to the ring finger correlates to aggressive behavior in men.

    A short index finger compared to the ring finger correlates to risk of heart attack in men.

    A short index finger compared to the ring finger correlates heterosexual behavior in men while a longer index finger correlates to homosexual behavior.

    A short index finger compared to the ring finger correlates homosexual behavior in women while a longer index finger correlates to heterosexual behavior.

    No one has really explained any of these correlations yet, but they do imply that lower testosterone levels during fetal development “tend” to produce gay men and straight women — while higher testosterone levels “tend” to produce straight men and lesbian women.

  38. Wow, uh, Nathan Tabor is….. what’s the word I’m looking for here? Illogical? No, too soft…. Um….. Silly? No… also too soft.

    Try this one: Bigot.

  39. Another explanation for the prevalence of homosexuality, which has some empirical support, is that it may be associated with fitness benefits to related individuals. A study from a couple years ago showed that women with gay brothers had more children on average than women without gay brothers (I think the study populations were English). No indication of a possible causative connection….

    “Yet, that simply doesn’t explain why one human twin might pursue a homosexual lifestyle and another would not.”

    This guy must have gotten his genetics training from a Chick Tract.

  40. “Hate to ruin the family blog, but if you are ejaculation into another man its a homosexual behavior.”

    What if you ejaculate into a woman while watching gay porn?

    I think your model of homosexuality is lacking.

  41. “You sold me *queer* giraffes!” – Proximo in ‘Gladiator’, (said as he’s squeezing the balls off an animal trader.)
    ———————————————

    We seem to be missing the point of the exhibit. It’s not about homsexuality being genetic or environmental. It’s about refuting the claim that homosexuality is unnatural (doesn’t occur in nature)

    I have to add about dogs, BTW, The happiest gay couple I ever knew were two dogs. One belonged to my best friend, the other was his neighbor’s dog.

    They’d play-fight and hang out in the shade all day and screw each other (taking turns) when they got horny. They ignored female dogs.

  42. “This person said that there is no gay gene, and that homosexuality is against nature, because homosexuals don’t procreate, so evolution should’ve eliminated it. Now, I don’t care even if people choose to be gay (which I don’t think they do), but I couldn’t think of a good response to that.”

    As others noted, it isn’t common enough or fatal enough to be eliminated. Further, it isn’t 100% determinant of behavior, only preference. A neolithic homosexual can have sex if it is to his advantage – for instance, to reproduce to get more people to help with chores and hunting. And children are of course useful to support you as you age.

    It is probably desirable to have a low % of the population being non-reproducing homosexuals, who can aid survival of the group, without increasing the population and straining the available resources. These individuals’ genes would also be shared by their siblings, who would reproduce, making it likely that the next generation would have some gay members.

    This may be like the low-status members of groups of lions, who don’t have the privilege of mating. They still aid the hunt, though they don’t get much of the kill.

    Another thing to consider is that lesbians probably wouldn’t have had much say in the matter of mating and reproduction. That’d be up to the men. So they’d be passing any ‘gay genes’ or traits to their offspring, regardless of their preference for women. That was probably sufficient to ensure the survival of homosexuality as a trait.

  43. Corkscrews would work great in pop-up books. Don’t you remember the snake in the can gag? Corkscrews.

  44. Child onset leukemia, in the past, was 100% fatal with NO opportunity to pass on to descendants. Recessive gene – still with us. Any questions.

  45. I am straight, but this sort of thinking is exactly why I moved from Kernersville to San Francisco.

  46. carrick – interesting. Which hand? My right hand seems to possess a bigger difference between the two fingers you speak of. I wonder what that means.

    Both of my sisters are gay, my brother and I are not. All my siblings are half siblings, from my father. That’s always been an interesting thing to ponder, and we often joke about the fact that everyone in our family likes pussy (their mom and my mom are usually not present on those occassion where we get together). 🙂

  47. All that exhibit proves is that nature is just un-natural. It’s about time we wipe it out.

  48. Nature is gay. Especially giraffes.

    Can it be mere coincidence that GIRAFFES is scramble-code for FAGS RIFE?

    (Apologies for the F word. GAYS RIFE would have been better, but it isn’t spelled GIRAYFES, and that’s not my fault.)

  49. On the other hand, no one wants to see that shit. Whale dicks are, like, six feet long, and that is, like, totally gross

    .. for once I am in 100% agreement with joe!!

    .. Hobbit

  50. I always knew dogs would hump everything from people legs to table legs but I LOL at the gay dog story.

    I think this whole thing just proves that people will use evidence to fit the circumstances they want it to fit.

    Oh, but look, there’s gay giraffes, so shut up you homophobic frothing-at-the-mouth pedophiles at the Vatican.

    Solemn voice-over on the Nature Channel: But in the case of male giraffes mating with each other, natural selection doesn’t really apply to ensuring the survival of species because…………

    Thirty years ago, everything was environmental. Now, everything’s genetic. Except smoking cigarettes and smoking the White Owl. Smokers are damaged by cigarettes and it has nothing to do with genetics. White Owl afficiandos have only their genes to thank. Except those priests, who are actually not homo-sectionals (a gay couch), they are get-down ped-o-files and should get the needle.

  51. As far as the explanation about why one twin might dig the same sex and the other doesn’t not being genetic, here is a link:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15447465/

    If one twin can be black and the other white, why can’t one be gay and the other not?

    Nick

  52. I can recall a party I went to where a lot of people brought over their (male) dogs and put them all in the back yard. It was a frickin conga-line after about five minutes.

    That has to be the Danny-Thomas-spittake-inducing Line Of The Week…

  53. I think there’s a great deal of confusion on this thread because “homosexuality” can be both a behavior and a sexual identity.

    Male on male rape in prison is certainly homosexual behavior. Whether either the rapist or the victim is a homosexual is a different question.

    The article suggests that the museum exhibit includes evidence of both homosexual behavior and homsexual identity (to the degree that the latter makes any sense when applied to animals): “Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even long-lasting partnerships; partnerships that may last a lifetime.”

    Grand Chalupa, I haven’t read Sperm Wars, but your account of it is incoherent: Most men who are homosexual are actually bi and on average actually end up having more female sexual partners then straight men. That’s paradoxical–most men who are homosexual are not homosexual? This may be another example of the confusion between behavior and identity. It would make sense to say that “most men who engage in homosexual behavior are actually bi.” Although I don’t know if it is true, it certainly resonates with my experience as a gay man.

  54. I think there’s a great deal of confusion on this thread because “homosexuality” can be both a behavior and a sexual identity.

    Male on male rape in prison is certainly homosexual behavior. Whether either the rapist or the victim is a homosexual is a different question.

    The article suggests that the museum exhibit includes evidence of both homosexual behavior and homsexual identity (to the degree that the latter makes any sense when applied to animals): “Not only short-lived sexual relationships, but even long-lasting partnerships; partnerships that may last a lifetime.”

    Grand Chalupa, I haven’t read Sperm Wars, but your account of it is incoherent: Most men who are homosexual are actually bi and on average actually end up having more female sexual partners then straight men. That’s paradoxical–most men who are homosexual are not homosexual? This may be another example of the confusion between behavior and identity. It would make sense to say that “most men who engage in homosexual behavior are actually bi.” Although I don’t know if it is true, it certainly resonates with my experience as a gay man.

  55. Homosexuals consistently run about 10% of the population.
    there isn’t a “gay gene” per se, but the incidence among identical twins if one is gay the other being likewise is higher than the nominal 10% in the general population, I may recall it being about 50%.
    There is some thought about the prenatal environment being a factor in nueral development probably having to do with response to pheromones, that is, homosexuals respond to same sex pheromones.

  56. It’s terrifying to think that gay could be natural. It could even be possible that God is gay.

    As far as the natural/un-natural thing goes what difference does it make? If two guys want to do something sexual natural or not, I don’t see what difference it makes to me.

  57. Well, before I went to pull the ribs off the mesquite I tried to post something and it didn’t take. I’m looking forward to the new Reason.

    Short version, with twins, what matters is whether or not they are identical and the article referenced above doesn’t tell us. Identical twins share identical genetic codes, fraternal twins are no closer than ordinary brothers or sisters. I would think with gays, what would be interesting is if one identical twin was gay and one straight.

    For an example of twin genes v environment look at Type II diabetes (which is thought to have a genetic component). If one identical twin gets it there is only a 75% (max) chance that the other identical twin will get the disease.

    You know, that connected a lot more coherently in the post the server squirrel ate. Said squirrel has not been killed quite yet.

  58. Socrates was a man.

    Socrates was a homosexual.

    Therefore, all men are homosexuals. Except for me, of course.

  59. The argument that these are always just dominance displays has been pretty well debunked by long term study. There are many documented cases of animals that prefer, near exclusively same sex partners to opposite sex partners, including those animals in pair bonding situations. Heck: male homo swans not only mate for life, not only steal eggs from other swans to raise as their own, but they and their kidnapped young are more successful than regular swan couples (which is perhaps a boon to the swan population as a whole, since the victims of the egg theft can simply have more eggs, while their offspring is likewise likely to do well, making swans as a whole better off)

  60. Homosexuals consistently run about 10% of the population.

    This is a wild overexaggeration. Every study other than Kinsey says that the actual stat is closer to 2% (around 3% of men, 1% of women.)

  61. “Every study other than Kinsey says that the actual stat is closer to 2% (around 3% of men, 1% of women.)”
    I don’t know the number, but it is interesting to note that there are no objective sources for the 10% or 2% figures. The 2% figure is cited by sites like familyvaluefascists.com and the 10% figure is at places like gaycivilunionsnow.org. It’s no surprise that “every other study” shows 2%– they all seem to have been commissioned by right wing groups. I don’t see how a scientific study could be done. If people are in the closet, they don’t show up on the study.

  62. So let’s compormise at 6%. I’ll bet the amount is higher than most expect and more than some would like. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Whatever the %, they are what they are. It is my experience that attraction is not a matter of reasoned or moral choice, it is what it is for each of us, what’s more, it’s not on/off, but is a matter of degree. I prefer brunettes to blondes, but I am often attracted to blondes anyhow.

  63. Back in the old days, when squirrels were gatekeepers here, I tried to post something I had read about Mark Foley elephants raping and killing rhinocerii.
    Maybe, if I had been able to sound the alarm then, we wouldn’t be where we are here with this tragic thread.

    Oh, the animality!

    On whose side were those sinful squirrels? Were they in Reason’s closet? Are they still?

  64. Sometimes when I’m watching Gilligan’s Island, I start playing with myself when Mary Ann and Ginger are on. But the scene suddenly changes to Gilligan and the Skipper. Then I come all over the place like crazy. Does this mean I’m gay?

  65. “propaganda invading the scientific world.”

    He’s quite correct. The only animals which exhibit homosexuality – as opposed to making occasional mistakes in artificial environments – are humans and a strain of domestic sheep.

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